People & Culture
Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its friendly people. Real and genuine, warm and welcoming, fun-loving and funny to the core, the people here are also known for their natural creativity, unique language, and knack for storytelling. Perhaps that's why, according to Macleans magazine, Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the Top 10 Friendliest Cultures in the World!
The unique culture of Newfoundland and Labrador is a product of our English, Irish, French, and Aboriginal heritage. Our French heritage is evident in areas of French settlement, found primarily on the west coast of Newfoundland. In fact, French is still largely spoken along the Port-au-Port Peninsula. A testimony to our aboriginal people can be found in areas like Conne River, Newfoundland, home to more than 800 Miawpukek First Nations people, and throughout coastal communities in northern and southern Labrador.
Whether describing our connection to the land, our character, our storytelling abilities or our sense of humour, one element shines through – the way we speak.
There are more varieties of English spoken in Newfoundland and Labrador than anywhere else in the world. Dating back four centuries, accents are flavoured by Western England and Southern Ireland. There's also French and Aboriginal influences that have helped shape our colourful language. And since we're off the beaten path, the multitude of dialects and traditions that have long since evolved in other countries, remain preserved right here.
It's more than just accents too: it's no surprise we have our very own dictionary and encyclopedia. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English was first published in 1982 and contains hundreds of words and phrases you'll find nowhere else.
Newfoundland and Labrador is home to some of the country's finest artists. In fact, St. John's is fast becoming the cultural capital of Canada with one of the highest concentrations of writers, musicians, actors, and comedians on a per capita basis.
Take Great Big Sea for example. Known for their high-energy performances and traditional music, these folk-rockers are also East Coast Music Award winners and JUNO nominees. When it comes to comedy, Gemini award-winner Rick Mercer knows how to get a laugh or two. He can be seen each week on The Rick Mercer Report. Shaun Majumder, a regular on the program This Hour has 22 Minutes, has also made appearances on many TV shows and films. Gordon Pinsent, a native of Grand Falls-Windsor, is a 60-year veteran of theatre, film, and television as well as an Order of Canada recipient. And writers Lisa Moore, Wayne Johnston, and Michael Crummey continue our oral storytelling tradition on paper as critically-acclaimed authors.
Mary and Christopher Pratt are two of the province's internationally-recognized visual artists. And E.J. Pratt, one of the foremost Canadian poets of the early 20th century, also called this place home.
If you're searching for live music and theatre, you don't have to look far. There's never a shortage of festivals and events – St. John's, Trinity, Grand Bank, Grand Falls-Windsor, and Gros Morne National Park are especially lively during the summer months. One thing's for sure: around every corner, it's easy to find entertainment and good times.